Parkinson’s disease is a neuro-degradable disorder that primarily affects the area of the brain responsible for coordinating movement. Symptoms tend to progress gradually over many years, making daily tasks increasingly difficult. Over time, this disease leads to shakiness, rigidity, and problems with balance and coordination. Longevity Live Paid Content.
It generally manifests during later years, but it can sometimes occur earlier. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, the symptoms can be managed with medication and therapies to improve quality of life.
Parkinson’s Risk Factors
There are also some risk factors for Parkinson’s disease that you should be aware of, such as the following five.
1. Age Factor
The biggest risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease is age. This neurodegenerative disorder mostly strikes people aged 60 and over.
While it is rarer in younger individuals, it is possible to develop the disease at an earlier age. But the chance of developing Parkinson’s increases as you get older.
2. Genetic Predisposition
Your genetic makeup can also play a significant role. If your close relatives, such as parents or siblings, have Parkinson’s disease, your chances of developing it can be higher than someone with no family history.
However, note that having an affected relative does not necessarily mean you will get the disease yourself.
Interestingly, gender also contributes to your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Studies indicate that men are more likely to suffer from this illness than women.
However, the reasons behind this striking difference are still under investigation by scientists.
4. Exposure to Certain Toxins
Frequent exposure to certain environmental toxins can escalate your risk level of developing Parkinson’s. For instance, pesticides or solvents used in farming could potentially lead to increased vulnerability to Parkinson’s disease over time.
In particular, people who are exposed to the herbicide Paraquat have been linked to a significant increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Paraquat, which is also known by its trade name Gramoxone, is a chemical herbicide widely used in agriculture across the U.S., even though the herbicide has been banned in more than fifty countries.
Thousands of people who developed Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to the herbicide have filed Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits against some of the leading companies that make the product. If successful, they may be entitled to compensation.
5. Head Trauma
While more studies are required, some experts believe head trauma could be a contributory factor in people developing Parkinson’s.
For instance, many specialists are looking at the connection between playing football and becoming at risk of developing a neurodegenerative disorder.
What You Can Do About Each Risk
While there is no guarantee of avoiding developing Parkinson’s, there are several things you can do to potentially lower each of the above risks.
Stay Physically and Mentally Active
While you cannot reverse the aging process, by staying physically and mentally active, you could potentially slow cognitive decline and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. This can be achieved by adopting a healthy lifestyle, regularly exercising, and keeping your brain active through doing things like crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
Understanding Your Family History
It is also true that you cannot change your genetic makeup. You cannot reduce the genetic risk of developing Parkinson’s.
However, by understanding your family history, you can be aware of whether you are at a higher risk of developing the disease. In turn, that can lead to early detection and treatment of Parkinson’s, should it develop. It could then be easier to live with the disease.
Get Regular Checkups
As discussed, if you are a biological male, you have a higher risk rate.
Again, you cannot do anything about this risk. But by getting regular checkups with your doctor, especially as you grow older, it can be easier to spot any early signs of the disease and manage symptoms.
Limit Toxin Exposure
Reducing exposure to toxins is something that you can control significantly. For instance, when using pesticides or solvents, ensure adequate protection such as gloves, masks, and appropriate ventilation for fumes. Also, avoid exposure to Paraquat at all costs.
Avoid Head Injuries
If you play lots of sports or are physically active in other ways, avoid head injuries as much as possible. Wearing protective gear can help.
Even if experts discover that head injuries do not put people at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, you can avoid head injuries that could potentially lead to other health problems by avoiding harm to your head.